The effect that climate change and variability will have on waterborne bacteria is a topic of increasing concern for coastal ecosystems, including the Chesapeake Bay. Surface water temperature trends in the Bay indicate a warming pattern of roughly 0.3-0.4 C per decade over the past 30 years. It is unclear what impact future warming will have on pathogens currently found in the Bay, including Vibrio spp. Using historical environmental data, combined with three different statistical models of Vibrio vulnificus probability, we explore the relationship between environmental change and predicted Vibrio vulnificus presence in the upper Chesapeake Bay. We find that the predicted response of V. vulnificus probability to high temperatures in the Bay differs systematically between models of differing structure. As existing publicly available datasets are inadequate to determine which model structure is most appropriate, the impact of climatic change on the probability of V. vulnificus presence in the Chesapeake Bay remains uncertain. This result points to the challenge of characterizing climate sensitivity of ecological systems in which data are sparse and only statistical models of ecological sensitivity exist.